After the chemotherapy Cycle here comes a period called the Neutropenia phase which normally occurs between 7 to 14 days called NADIR PERIOD. However, In this period patients experience the suspected side effects of chemotherapy which may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low white blood cells
- Low platelet count
- Low hemoglobin level
- Diarrhea or constipation Some patients experience constipation as severe as diarrhea
- Skin discoloration
- Low energy
Precautions in Neutropenia
As in the neutropenic phase due to low white blood cell count patients can get infections very easily. The patient should take care of the following.
Avoid going to large crowded places:
Patients should avoid going to parks, malls, or markets where patients can easily get contagious diseases like flu, tuberculosis, COVID-19, chicken pox, etc.
Avoid using sharp objects:
Patients should avoid sharp objects like razors. which can result in cuts and can lead to bleeding due to low platelet count. Do not use a toothbrush instead use the prescribed mouthwash.
Use of hygienic food:
Use boiled water and well-cooked food. Should prefer homemade food. Use fruits after peeling them off.
Avoid using public toilets:
Patients can get urinary tract infections very easily from public toilets. So avoid the use of public toilets when you are on chemotherapy treatment.
Keeping yourself well-hydrated.This will keep your kidneys well-functioning. So, that your kidneys flush out the end products of cytotoxic drugs. Also, your skin will be well hydrated. Moreover, it can protect your skin from getting discolored or dull.
Avoid sun exposure:
People on chemotherapy have very sensitive skin. So, avoid strong sun exposure or use a scarf or a hat when going in the sun.
Seeking Medical Attention:
- Consult your Doctor in case of a fever of 101F.
- Bruises in the skin or bleeding from anywhere in the body.
- Have urinary hesitancy or burning in urine.
- Uncontrolled diarrhea or vomiting.
How to Manage the Neutropenic Phase?
Management of fever:
In the neutropenic phase when WBC counts are dropped patient gets an infection very quickly. So, fever is the first sign of infection, your health care professional will manage it by testing your blood, urine, and chest for any kind of infection. Thus according to the type of infection, you will be prescribed a course of antibiotics, antifungals, or antivirals along with medications to lower your fever known as antipyretics.
low Platelet Count: If your platelets are low. A platelet transfusion will be done to prevent bleeding.
Low Hemoglobin Level: A packed Red blood will be transfused according to your hemoglobin levels.
Nausea /vomit: Medication will be administered to control nausea and vomiting. Sometimes diet modification is also done to control nausea and vomiting.
Mouth Ulceration (Mucositis): Try to use good mouthwash containing anti-fungal instead of using a toothbrush. furthermore, avoid toothbrushes if platelet counts are low. which may cause gum bleeding.
Isolation: Avoid so many people visiting the patient in the neutropenic phase. If possible keep the patient in a single room.
The neutropenic phase occurs after every chemotherapy cycle. Fast recovery from this phase prepares the patient to be ready for the next cycle. So, try to be more careful in your diet exercise, and follow the above tips can reduce your neutropenia time. And get your chemo cycles on the standard time of your course.